City will use $60,000 fitness grant to extend greenway to North Main neighborhood

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Staff report
The city of Salisbury has been awarded a $60,000 “Fit Community” grant, which will be used to establish a 1.5-mile extension of the Salisbury Greenway to the North Main Street neighborhood.
The money comes from the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund. Salisbury earned the designation as a Fit Community in 2007.
New sidewalks will be constructed along West Miller Street, North Jackson Street and Lake Drive.
These new sidewalks, along with existing sidewalks and park trails, will form the basis for the greenway extension and provide a continuous pedestrian route linking the Forest Hills greenway, City Park, Hurley Park, Rowan Regional Medical Center and other adjacent or nearby destinations.
New greenway signs will be installed to help mark the route.
In addition, a walking program, based at the City Park Recreation Center, will be created with the goal of increasing routine physical activity such as walking to work, school, shopping centers and other destinations.
The greenway project, strongly supported by the Old North Salisbury Association, will help accomplish a goal of the North Main Street Small Area Plan to improve pedestrian access to City Park.
City officials also hope it will further revitalization efforts in the neighborhood.
The Fit Community initiative recognizes and rewards N.C. municipality and county-led efforts to promote physical activity and healthy eating programs, policies, environments and lifestyles.
“By promoting healthy living, these communities are making a real difference,” Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, chairman of the Health and Wellness Trust Fund, said in a press release. “Salisbury is improving the well-being of their residents and helping lead the way to a healthier North Carolina.”
City Manager David Treme and Senior Planner Janet Gapen said Salisbury was in stiff statewide competition for the funding. In the end, the program awarded eight grants.
In the past three years, the Health and Wellness Fund has awarded nearly $1.5 million in grants as part of Fit Community.
The fund’s Fit Community initiative supports local efforts to address obesity, which has emerged as a major threat to children and adults across the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 percent of North Carolina adults are overweight or obese, with obesity-related expenses adding up to more than $2.1 billion annually.
Partners in Salisbury’s grant application included the Land Management and Development Department, Parks and Recreation, the Rowan County Health Department and the Old North Salisbury Association, with support from the Salisbury Greenway Committee, Street Division and Rowan Partnership for Community Health.

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